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Long Holds List? Recommend a Series!

Post by Christine Wells
Posted January 13, 2016 in NoveList Plus

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With resolutions to “read more” hitting peak stride, hold lists for popular titles will continue to unfurl to unwieldy lengths. Hold lists are wonderful for democratizing the library collection, but long wait times which can be discouraging both to the most avaricious reader (who finds her twelve holds arriving on the same day) and a more casual reader who’s not sure what else is out there besides the next megahit saturating pop culture.

Readers’ Advisory librarians have helped bridge these hold times through read-alike recommendations, and we think one of the best ways to build on this solution is through thoughtful series recommendations.

Series are a great solution because they are a long-term reading recommendation: a series recommendation includes a longer story told over multiple novels (obviously!) so a reader will have easy to manage installments they can parse out while waiting out the hold lines. And series are more just “the next best thing” while you refresh the library catalog on your browser. Series titles appeal to readers because they build on a story that grows both familiarity and revelation in each title, creating a world and characters that grow and develop with the readers’ interest.

Below, you’ll find some of our 2015 Best titles for some of our major genres and some series you may want to recommend to your patrons. 

Suspense and thrillers

If the hold time for Saul Black’s The Killing Lessons has got you down NoveList recommends:

  • Archie and Gretchen thrillers
  • Vanessa Michael Munroe novels
  • Kick Lannigan

These series feature complex characters hurled through a fast-paced, intricately plotted story of murder, violence, and suspense.

Looking for more suspense stories with complex characters? Try this search:

AP "complex" AND GN "suspense stories" ND Series

Science fiction

Waiting for Dark orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman? NoveList recommends:

  • Artemis awakening novels
  • Species Imperative trilogy
  • Sparrow novels (Mary Doria Russell)

These series feature stories of alien contact that challenge the protagonists’ preconceptions of culture, humanity, and life.

Looking for more Science fiction series with thought-provoking stories? Try:

GN "science fiction" AND AP "thought-provoking" AND ND series


Looking for titles like The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin? NoveList recommends:

  • Pure trilogy
  • Patternists
  • Passage trilogy
  • Prince of nothing

These world-building stories feature protagonists clawing at survival after disaster or apocalyptic doom.

Interested in fantasy novels by African American authors? There’s two ways to do that!  Try:

GN “African American fiction” AND GN “Fantasy fiction” and ND Series

Or, you can go to our Advanced search page, search for fantasy fiction in the search bar and set the field to Genre. Then just scroll down to author characteristics and select “African-American.”


Waiting for Nature of the beast by Louise Penny to be available? NoveList recommends:

  • Simon Serrailler crime novels
  • Thomas Lynley mysteries
  • Hercule Poirot mysteries

Looking for more Police procedurals by Canadian authors? There’s two ways for that, too! Try:

GN “Canadian fiction” AND GN “Police procedurals” and ND Series

Or, you can go to our Advanced search page, search for fantasy fiction in the search bar and set the field to Genre.  Then just scroll down to author characteristics and select “Canadian.”


Want more than Four Nights with the Duke? NoveList recommends these series to fans of Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses:

  • Huxtable quintet by Mary Balogh
  • Secret Brides by Valerie Bowman
  • Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas
  • Wicked Widows by Manda Collins

Looking for more steamy and witty historical romance series? Try:

 GN “Historical romances” AND AP “Steamy” AND AP “Witty” AND ND Series

Christine Wells is a Cataloger at NoveList.